We have our emotional moment of the night, and we’ll just come out and say it: it’s going to be almost impossible to top.
Injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier stunned the crowd and likely the majority of those watching the first round of the NFL draft when he walked onto the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Steelers’ first-round pick.
Gripping the hand of his fiancee, Michelle Rodriguez, Shazier walked with his head held high and a determined look on his face. He only broke into a smile as he got close to the podium. He was wearing a golden jacket over black shirt and pants, of course representing his team — with a little panache.
Shazier clearly had a limp, but given where he was just under five months ago — unable to move on the field during a Monday night game against the Bengals on Dec. 4 — it was uplifting to see the progress he’s made. (Though it also was a sobering reminder of how dangerous football can be.)
Shazier will not play in 2018, but will have a role within the Steelers organization.
The 25-year-old announced the name of safety Terrell Edmunds of Virginia Tech, and while Edmunds’ selection became secondary to seeing Shazier, Edmunds didn’t mind.
Speaking with Deion Sanders of NFL Network after posing for photos with Shazier and his commemorative Steelers jersey, Edmunds said, “That was amazing. Just seeing a fantastic player like him calling my name, that was a blessing, honestly.”
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) April 27, 2018
Sanders was visibly emotional, as were several Pittsburgh fans at the draft who were shown on television.
More NFL draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Browns bet on monster gamble in Mayfield
• Giants take Barkley with No. 2 pick instead of Darnold
• Did Cardinals get NFL draft’s best QB with 10th pick?
• NFL draft grades 2018: The emoji edition